Ozone Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Odds-on favorite Noble Moon sped away down the stretch to win Saturday's $200,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.
Trained by Leah Gyarmeti, Noble Moon and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. battled for the lead in the mile, 70 yard stakes and eventually pulled away down the stretch to capture New York's first stakes of the year for potential Triple Crown hopefuls.
Breaking from the inside post, Noble Moon was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the eight-horse field. He pressed the pace being set by 85-1 longshot Pin and Win with Master Lightning on the outside up close.
At the top of the stretch, Noble Moon had a short lead over 7-2 second choice Classic Giacnroll and Scotland, the 6-1 third pick. The favorite began to pull away with 100 yards to go and posted a two-length victory over Classic Giacnroll.
"He broke a little slowly, but then he put me in the race," said Ortiz. "He's got a big, long stride. I asked him at the quarter-pole and he picked it right up."
Scotland held on to third followed by Matuszak, Lawmaker, Mental Iceberg, Master Lightning and Pin and Win.
Noble Moon stopped the timer at 1:45.08 for the Jerome.
Owned by Treadway Racing Stable, Noble Moon notched his second win in three starts worth $120,000. The colt has banked $193,000.
"It's a good sign that he can win and go two turns and fight them off, whether he's on the lead or not," said Gyarmati. "As a rider, you can maneuver him, so that's always handy. He's going to have to step it up again, obviously, because there are some nice horses out there beyond Aqueduct."
The colt was third, beaten three lengths, in the Nashua by Cairo Prince on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct after winning his debut race at Belmont Park on Sept. 14 by setting the entire pace.
Noble Moon paid $3.60, $2.50 and $2.10. Classic Giacnroll returned $4.10 and $3.10, and Scotland paid $3.60 to show.